thisNZlife
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Blog: Insolent chickens and wayward eggs

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Growing grapes in the Far, Far North

Eric and Sandra Shackleton took a hillside with a spectacular view and have turned it into a delicious mix of grapes and grand bushland.

Christmas books

6 books for Christmas reading

Find a sunny spot and curl up with one of our picks for great Christmas reads this season.

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How to make Green Tea Smoked Beef

The Pitches Store chef shares his award-winning recipe for Green Tea Smoked Silver Fern Farms Reserve Beef with Beetroot Mustard.

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5 common plants causing your hayfever

Spring might be over, but there is plenty of pollen still in the air. Listed below are a few of the potential culprits, and it's probably not what you might think.

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DIY

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3 secrets to getting the best from cabbage trees

The cabbage tree is the gift that keeps on giving, if you know its secrets.

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Harvesting a culinary profit

Starting a backyard herbal enterprise can be a viable means of earning extra cash. Donna Lee of Cottage Hill Herbs spills her secrets to success.

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Make your own natural cleaning products

These tips will help you to reduce the amount of packaging you use, and get you into DIY cleaning products.

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How to make almond milk

Kristina Jensen talks about the health benefits of almonds, how to make milk from almonds, and what to do with the leftover pulp.

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2 organic DIY ways to beat weeds this spring

If weeds are springing up all over your freshly tended beds, there are a couple of easy, spray-free ways to beat them back.

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How to use horse manure with no regrets

It may not smell the greatest, but your garden will thank you for using horse manure to help it flourish.

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Editor's Picks

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Horse trekking through the Coromandel

There may be a few hills to climb and you could well be subjected to a little karaoke, but this trek through some of New Zealand’s best scenery does good in more than one sense.

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Life on the run with Liz Stringer

For a woman who really loves black and white, Wellington businesswoman Liz Stringer lives a most colourful life, split between town and country.

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When Helly met Sally: love through the lens

Sally Maguire’s dog knew a thing or two when it introduced its owner to the love of her life, Helmut Hirler. They walk us through their beautiful home and art gallery, 'Artmosphere' .

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The quick and slow of Christmas cakes

There is always an easy way and a hard way to do something, and Christmas cake is no different.

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From Antarctica to Port Chalmers: David Elliot's well-drawn career

David Elliot loves nothing more than a good story. As luck (and hard work) would have it, his country-spanning, award-winning, character-rich career has bestowed him with plenty of content.

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Highlights from the NZ Life & Leisure spring luncheon

The NZ Life & Leisure spring luncheon was huge success, raising $6500 for Ranui House.

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Harvesting a culinary profit

Starting a backyard herbal enterprise can be a viable means of earning extra cash. Donna Lee of Cottage Hill Herbs spills her secrets to success.

Tiff Chittenden behind the wheel.

Top female go-karter inspiring new generation

Top go-karter Tiff Chittenden is teaching a new generation of speedsters how to tackle the track.

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The ultimate wedding gift

Sheryl welcomed her husband Tony into their marriage by giving him the key to her  fabulous 56-year-old fin-tailed Ford.

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Garden work for November

As the weather starts to warm up, it is prime time to start sprouting flowers, fruit, vegetables, and herbs in your home garden.

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Bringing super yacht technology down to size

Jason & Tristin Dickey talk us through how they brought superyacht technology down to size in a range of luxuriously fitted aluminium boats.

View over Manu Bay.

Leading the way in eco tourism

Featuring New Zealand's largest earthbag buildings, tipis, a permaculture garden and solar energy, Raglan's Solscape eco-camp is leading the way in sustainable tourism.

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5 ways to make stock handling safer

Livestock being moved around a property can become unsettled, and that can be dangerous. Here's five ways you can keep things under control.

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Personalised perfume business winning fans

A burgeoning, and bespoke, perfume business strays no further than nature’s garden for ingredients

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It's all good craic in Belfast

It sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, but what do Game of Thrones, a jigging Irishman and Bill Clinton have in common? Belfast

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Water Cooler: Goats, glass and salmoriglio

This week in the water cooler: we sing the praises of stained glass, wax lyrical about goats and make delicious yet unpronounceable sauces.

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A guide to growing hazelnuts

Hazelnuts are still a niche product in New Zealand but they have the potential to be the country’s main nut crop.

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Inside Lynda Hallinan's "posh barn"

Hurricane Hallinan, aka the country’s liveliest gardener Lynda Hallinan, shows us her spring makeover in time for another charity fundraiser.

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Water Cooler: Breathless theatre and treasured faces

Thieving sparrows,  heartless geese, breathless theatre and treasured faces: things that we were talking about in the thisNZlife office this week

Goose

A beginner's guide to geese

When you’re considering security options for your farm, you’re probably considering the obvious: alarm system, gate alarm, dog, automatic lights, security cameras, but have you considered the humble goose?

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A guide to NZ's backyard birds

How to identify birds and encourage birdlife in your backyard.

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4 things you need to know about the new farming rules

Regional councils around NZ are introducing new rules around farming, and you need to know how they may affect what and how you do things on your block.

Polly Greeks

Blog: You can't get good help these days

As the mudbrick  house construction progresses, Polly finds some workers are more help than others.

Ben photographed for a Norwegian clothing company. The hooked leg is his modelling pose; he’s all over social media.

The high country station selling merino to NATO

Meet the Williamsons: global merino suppliers raising a tribe of small boys and creating real socks appeal in Omarama.

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New Zealand sake scoops international award

New Zealand-made Zenkuro sake is ranked among the world's best.

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The most ambitious (and delicious) Lemon Meringue Pie

Looking for something special to bake? Why not try Simon Wright's Lemon Meringue Pie.

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6 flowers for the cottage garden

If you want to emulate the soft, frothy hues of a cottage garden, these six flowers are a good start.

Dr Libby Weaver

Dr Libby on nutritional deficiencies

In a two-part series, Dr Libby fronts up to a question about nutritional deficiencies.

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A guide to wheat-free pizza bases

Try these gluten-free alternatives to a standard wheat-based pizza crust.

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An award-winning toy business run from home

The kids play in the bush and fish in the stream. The adults work from home creating toys that win awards.

Jacqui Wales, of Libertine Blends.

How a coffee addiction led to a tea business

Wellington tea maker’s three herbal blends are led by gut instinct, ensuring what’s tasty also nurtures body and mind.

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Blog: The big packing debate

There are two types of suitcase packers in this world, writes Polly Greeks, the  Johnny-Go-Lightlies and the Just-In-Case packers.

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How to reduce food waste

More than half the food thrown out by Kiwi households could be eaten.

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From soap star to designer

Designer Katrina Hobbs is an expert at reinvention. From travel-show host to soap star, business presenter and now business owner, she takes a role and runs with it.

Jenny Drury.

Small town fashion success

Jenny Drury is finding success with fashion label Ketz-ke by focussing on wholesale and supporting New Zealand retailers.

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How a 100kg bag of cacao beans changed lives in two countries

A Havelock North's desire to support  Pacific Island farmers has led to sweet business success.

Raglan Watercress

Innovation driving success at watercress farm

A gravity driven watering system is just one of the innovations in use at an organic watercress farm in Raglan.

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What drives a person to run 100km?

Cheree Morrison takes a walk in the well-worn running shoes of Fiona Hayvice, one of the world’s top ultra-marathon athletes.

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Blog: near noodle starvation

A new wwoof-er demonstrates his unfamiliarity with wholefoods and a spiral staircase sends the family’s spirits to heaven.

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Recipe: Banana bread waffles

For organic month, Kiwi firm, All Good Organics shares with us a recipe for delicious banana bread waffles and whipped coconut cream

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2 natives that you don’t want to mess with

You may think of all natives as friendly plants, but two common ones have a deadly secret.

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A beginner’s guide to wood burning stoves

Fans of the wood-burning stove explain why they find an old-fashioned form of cooking far more satisfying than modern gadgetry.

Barbara Brinsley

Turning heads at 78

Dunedin style icon Barbara Brinsley says she isn't afraid to stand out in a crowd.

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Podcast: The Off-Topic Book Club

The Off-Topic book Club raves about The Light Between Oceans, by M L Stedman.

Kelly Watt of True Food & Yoga.

Finding work/life balance

A personal quest for work/life balance is at the core of a new restaurant and wellness centre run by a top chef and his yogi wife.

Chasing Great is in cinemas from September 1.

What makes a leader?

What does it take to captain a rugby team through to win two successive World Cups? A new documentary tries to capture the man behind the hype

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Shark attacks, cannibals and Antarctica

Dr Sea Rottman will soon depart on an all-female expedition to Antarctica - just one of many adventures in her life.

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Wee little lambs and strange fruit

This week in the thisNZlife office: We're feeling inspired by a wee spring lamb, try some strange fruit and find hares in the garden.

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Recipe: 5 Seed Sourdough

This delicious wheat free bread takes a little planning but is easy to make.

Terry & Karlene Shaw-Toomey. Beekeepers and owners of Earthbound Honey, Bethells Beach, West Auckland.

It's not easy being a green beekeeper

It's not easy being an organic beekeeper when bees can forage as far as 5km for their food.

Dr Libby Weaver

Dr Libby's health advice

In the first of a new series, Dr Libby tackles a problem head on.

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Blog: Big windfall and the big smoke

The big city beckons for a Kaitaia local, but sometimes the hitting the jackpot comes with a price.

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Her patented pint-sized plant has fans around the world

Elsie Hall's patented plant creations are the celebrities of the lavender world

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Business bubbling along in the Catlins

A bubbly soapmaker has turned her favourite hobby into a cottage industry on her Otago small block.

Anna in the village with Harry & Toots.

Creating a home in France

Former Auckland art dealer Anna Bibby ignored the voices that told her she was bonkers and upped and moved to small-town France for a life tres tranquille

Cow Parsley

Why messy orchards are best

The last thing you need is for your orchard to look neat and tidy, at least not ground level anyway.

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How to have hatching success

Part of the fun of owning a small flock is hatching eggs, whether by natural means or with a little mechanical intervention.

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A twist of citrus

A delivery business with a twist boosts returns for a Gisborne orchard.

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Take a leek & make a cake

Leeks are a vegetable that Kristina loves and hates, and then she gets baking.

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World-class climber reaches new heights

Height is no limit for Dale Thomas. New Zealand's champion tree climber is just as comfortable at the tops of giant trees as he is with two feet on the ground.

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10 things to know about growing walnuts

The fabulous walnut is a tasty treat for the home orchard owner, or a potential future crop with New Zealand’s climate meaning we can produce high quality nuts.

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The Artisan Paper Pusher

David Stedman is doing his artisan bit to keep our digitally drenched society in love with paper.

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Finding Love in the Outback

In a parched and withering place, a New Zealand photographer gets instructions on how to live.

Planting seed potatoes.

What to sow in the garden right now

The wind-up to spring planting is starting, and one big decision is going to have year-long repercussions.

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Watercooler: going crackers, wayward fruit & kids apps

This week in the water cooler, we savour the new season grapefruit, say hello to Talking Tom and make the best crackers EVER

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10 natives that like wet feet

If you have a wet or swampy area, fence it off, plant something that thrives on wet soils, and turn it into a thing of beauty.

Ken Johnston of Stevens Outdoor Power Equipment.

Things to consider when buying a ride-on mower

If you’re tired of pushing yourself to do the lawns get our tips on how to buy possibly the biggest investment in a single product you’ll make when you live on a lifestyle block.

 

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Finding flower power

To cement their partnership, Antonia de Vere and Mark Seeney got married. Now they combine their talents in one very creative business, Markantonia

Shiri Appleby and Constance Zimmer in the Lightbox drama, UnREAL.

Screen Sirens podcast: UnREAL

The Screen Sirens discuss why you should binge-watch the Lightbox drama UnREAL.

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5 things to know if you had a drought at your place last summer

The after-effects of a dry summer will still be with you this spring.

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Thinking inside the box

This shipping container uses every square inch to nurture the future of country kids, and the adults too.

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Walking the magenta path

Sue Moody explores Auckland's magenta cycle way - by foot.

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Movies that made us cry... and yet more dogs

Farm trips for the kids, a movie that made our heart sing and yet more dogs... things that got us talking in the thisNZlife office this week.

Charlotte and James arrive at their wedding reception at Charlotte's family home in Wanaka.

Two weddings and a Land Rover

Romance has fulled the revival of a family's much-loved 60-year-old Land Rover.

St Michael's Mount, Marazion.

Great-uncle Stephen was a pirate from Penzance

Searching for forebears takes an exciting turn for two NZ Life & Leisure writers.

Anya Brighouse

A colourful life

There’s an element of Wonderland in interior designer Anya Brighouse’s home but this creative force is anything but out of control

A baby robin. Photo: Dreamstime.

What to do if you find an injured bird

Sometimes you may need to help an injured bird, and sometimes its best to leave it alone.

Beekeeping operation on Rangitatau West Rd near Whanganui. Photo by Mark Coote for Te Tumu Paeroa.

Boosting the Maori land economy

Taranaki-born Jamie Tuuta is enhancing the potential of Maori land and assets in his role as the Maori Trustee

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Lambing 101

Are your ewes due to lamb? Are you ready? Here are some things to consider.

The only right angles in Kotare House are between the walls and the floor. Even the roofs of the three "funnels" change pitch from one end to the other.

Architect's dream home built from coolstore panels

An architect designed his dream house on the shores of the Kaipara using coolstore panels.

The Food Show

Netflix and Food Show survival tactics

This week in the water cooler: we make new discoveries on Netflix, search for the perfect umbrella tree and plan survival strategies for The Food Show

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Mulching over winter

Mulching is an easy way to protect your soil until you’re ready to use it in spring.

Miranda Spary, hard at work reviewing The Reader on the 6.27.

Our reviewer found this book life-changing

Book reviewer Miranda Spary sees the world differently after reading The Reader on the 6.27 by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent.

Masanobu Fukuoka

What gardeners can learn from this man

The late Japanese farmer and philosopher Masanobu Fukuoka created a revolutionary way of farming that has no plowing, no fertiliser, no weeding and no pesticides.

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Self-sufficiency on Norfolk Island

When you live on a little island in the middle of a big ocean, you have to make your block of land pay its own way in the most self-sufficient manner possible.

Daniel Gudsell.

Wood entrepreneur finds eco niche

Daniel Gudsell turns a customer complaint into a thriving, environmentally friendly wood business.

Jing Song

How this woman is changing NZ wine

A wine producer is allowing her creative spirit to pop while exploring the Chinese heritage of Central Otago.

Titanic - credit to Titanic Belfast

4 amazing museums to visit in Ireland & the UK

Caught out by the weather while visiting the UK or Ireland? Here are four great museums to visit on a rainy day.

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Is there a mouse in your house?

Pests are tricky, secretive creatures and it can be difficult to know if you have a small problem, or a really big one.

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Coop of the month

Goats and chooks live in harmony in this funky recycled coop in Portland, Oregon.

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Bare, naked tree planting tips

Winter is a great time to plant your future fruiting trees, but do you know how to do it so you give a tree the optimal start?

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Blog: A bathroom at last

The demise of a local coincides with the near-death of the family’s bathroom plumbing.

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Recipe: chocolate stout cake

Kristina  Jenson brews up some great beer-based recipes, including a fabulously decadent chocolate cake.

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What to do if a goat eats something toxic

Most goats have a tendency to nibble first, check the toxicity of a plant later kind of strategy to life, and that can be deadly.

Belgravia app vs book

Will an app ever beat a book?

From the creator of Downton Abbey, the Belgravia serves up old-fashioned Dickensian serialised storytelling on a new digital app. But is the medium successful? Kate Coughlan weighs in.

tamarillo in bowl

Tips for getting 20kg of tamarillos per tree

They’re fussy, but tamarillos are a tangy treat, and prolific if you know the secrets to high production.

Hukerenui School

How a school is making a profit from the land

The enterprising students of Hukerenui School are making a profit from growing maize, lavender and keeping bees.

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How hard can it be, to plant a stick?

Two great options for fodder, shelter, shade and firewood can be as simple as a stick in the ground

Noeline Young

This inspiring 80- year-old will make your day

Noeline Young is a trail-blazer who adores aviation.

Okewa raincoats

Why this couple are singing in the rain

The rain fell down and a solution popped up – a young Wellington couple has designed a collection of classy raincoats that are making a splash.

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A life saving houses

Despite growing up on the cutting edge of the minimal Modernist movement, this interior and architectural designer’s heart is in the past.

A milk bottle chandelier at The Milk Station in Otaki.

Derelict milk station transformed

A 1926 Grade II Historic Place-listed concrete milk station is seeing a new life as a spectacular Otaki wedding venue.

apple orchard

Design a home orchard

A well-designed orchard means you can be self-sufficient in fruit all year-round.

parsnip

Three amazing parsnip recipes

Don't overlook this gourmet low calorie vegetable. Jenny Somervell shares three tasty parsnip recipes.

Chasing Great is in cinemas from September 1.

Trailer for Richie McCaw doco

What makes some people great? The documentary Chasing Great, featuring one of our best All Black captains ever, promises some answers.

Apollo Taito.

Career Path: The vegan soldier

Apollo Taito is a manager in the mental-health sector, part-time soldier, PhD student,  vegan and animal-rights campaigner.

Cheree Morrison races a Subaru WRX

We try... racing a WRX

Cheree Morrison puts pedal to the metal on the Highlands Motorsport Park course in Cromwell.

Shoemaker Louise Clifton

Dunedin shoe school kicks off

She made her first pair of shoes out of some car mat, now Dunedin’s Louise Clifton has opened her own shoe school.

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Don't get stuck in the mud

No-one likes mud, and it's something you need to manage carefully or the damage to soil can be devastating.

Future beauty trends. Photo: Dreamstime.

Trend spotting: the future of skincare

From weird face masks to smart skin patches, there are plenty of beauty trends to help you face the future.

Bronwyn Lowe

Using herbs to aid stress

When she began she thought $100 was a good day's takings, now Brownwyn Lowe is helping hundreds of people cure the symptoms of stress.

Turn this banana peel into cake

Turn this peel into a cake

Don't throw away your banana peels, they are the secret ingredient in this cake.

the best way to cut into a pumpkin

Water Cooler: How to cut into a pumpkin

Busy bees, balls of bliss and a country bumpkin and her pumpkins - things that got us talking this week.

Polly Greeks is an NZ Life & Leisure contributor.

Blog: Online shopping fails

Why all-terrain roller skates are no match for a goat track in the Far North.

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Recipe: deconstructed cheesecake

This edible flower cheesecake tastes as good as it looks.

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Auckland edible flower business blooming

A South Auckland grower shares the secrets of her edible garden.

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The perfect cup of tea

New Zealand has a good climate for growing tea. Here's our guide to making the perfect cuppa from garden to table.

Swedish Vallhund

Is this the ultimate Kiwi dog?

This 30cm dog might be the ultimate Kiwi canine.

Winter is the time to start thinking about planning your garden

5 tips for a prettier vegetable garden

Now is a great time to create something pretty and functional for this spring.

Autumn is a good time to buy poultry.

Top tips for buying your first poultry flock

Avoid ruffling feathers when buying your first flock with our simple guide.

rhubarb and rosehip jam

Rhubarb and rosehip jam

Gather rosehips and rhubarb to make this yummy winter jam.

Olveston gardens

3 green-fingered generations

A chance vacancy at Olveston Homestead has enabled three generations of the Goldsmith family to polish up a bit of Kiwi history

rabbit in mobile hutch to eat weeds

5 organic ways to weed

You can get rid of weeds using everything from a rabbit to a steam gun (but not together).

concept chicken coop

Coop of the month: Hönshus-1

There's no reason your hens shouldn't live in style. Introducing our coop of the month, the Hönshus-1.

Passionfruit macadamia truffles.

Macadamia passionfruit truffles

Make these truffles even when passionfruit is out of season.

Miniature donkey at Clovercrest.

Donkey business at Clovercrest

Peter and Marion van Dijk have taken the concept of downsizing to a whole new level.

Gluten-free spiced apple cake.

Gluten-free spiced apple cake

Pantry adventurer Duncan White shares this gluten-free alternative to this afternoon tea classic.

beetroot red velvet cake

3 easy beetroot recipes

Easy to grow and delicious, beetroot are a versatile vegetable in the kitchen.

Rockabilly couple

How a personalised number plate led to rockabilly love

Hey Daddy-O! Meet the Nixon-Sparkes - the coolest bunch of crazy cats to ever shake rattle 'n' roll.

Feature - Firewood Tree Manuka Photo Gerald W Wikimedia Commons

Great firewood trees (and what you might want to avoid)

Here’s what will keep you warm and cozy when you fire up your wood burner this winter.

Jump the fence and get a paddling of ducks. Photo: Gynane | Dreamstime.com

Are ducks the new chickens?

If you like the benefits of keeping chickens, you’re going to love having ducks.

Polly Greeks is an NZ Life & Leisure contributor.

Blog: Off-the-grid and online

In the first of her fortnightly blogs,  NZ Life & Leisure columnist Polly Greeks shares an update of life in her mudbrick off-the-grid home in the Far North.

Sachie Nomura's Thai Fish Pie.  Photo:  Anna Kidman

Recipe: Thai fish pie

An Asian spin on a winter Kiwi classic from Japanese-born cooking tutor Sachie Noumura.

Mary and Jessica at Jersey Girl Organics.

Does a cup of tea taste better with Jersey cow milk?

A Waikato farming family takes the cow by the teats and markets its own jersey milk.

The setting sun tints the peak of Aoraki/Mt Cook beyond Lake Pukaki.

My wayward wheels: from mountains to the sea

Riding 300 kilometres on the Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail can be hard work  but it’s worth every turn of the wheel.

Mt Titiroa

A walk on the wild side in Southland

On foot through northern Southland’s high country and on board a helicopter to the roof of the world – a weekend in Southland is an awfully big adventure.

peony growers New Zealand

Peony flower power: the secret beneath the soil

The peony is one of the most beautiful flowers in the world, but it’s what it grows beneath the soil that has turned into a unique business for one Nelson couple.

Onehunga Foreshore.

My wayward feet: walking the Onehunga Foreshore

Aucklanders have a brand new $28 million foreshore on the Manukau Harbour at Onehunga, Sue Moody goes exploring.

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Kurow lavender farm’s sweet smell of success

A picture-perfect lavender farm, is just one of a bunch of businesses nourished by a Kurow dairy farm.

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The king of Kombi vans

A series of chance encounters with volkswagens has steered an Auckland family to a love of vintage campers.

Good Bitches Baking

Saving the world through cake

What started as an idea to spread some sweetness throughout Wellington has blossomed into a national charity movement.

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